April 17, 2019
Liberty High will launch cybersecurity academy
Liberty High senior Seth Trusty works on a circuit board in the cybersecurity class.
Jon Clark teaches the pilot class with 20 students this spring. The same number took the course in the fall semester.
This is a field that doesn’t necessarily have to have a bachelor’s, master’s or associate’s. There are job opportunities right out of high school for students.
— Fauquier schools’ Career and Technology Director Sara Frye
• What: Elective program featuring four years of classes, open to rising freshman.
• Where: Liberty High School.
• Who: LHS rising freshman and eligible rising sophomores.
• Students: 40 total — or 20 per term.
• Applications due: Monday, April 22.
• Class starts: Fall 2019.
Cell phones, lamps, security systems and even refrigerators can connect to the internet, leaving those and other devices venerable to hacking.
“As we get more (technology), cybersecurity needs to be at the forefront of this stuff,” Liberty High School cybersecurity teacher Jon Clark told his students Friday.
Cybersecurity jobs remain in high demand, with more than 44,000 openings in the D.C. metro area alone, according to CyberSeek, an online interactive tool that the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education supports.
Liberty High this fall will start a cybersecurity academy, offering students a range of technology courses and opportunities to earn industry certifications.
The four-year program will prepare students who want to study cybersecurity in college or start careers in the booming field right after high school.
“We knew cybersecurity was cutting edge, and in our locality there were so many opportunities in public safety, commercial, government,” Fauquier schools’ Career and Technology Director Sara Frye said.
LHS already has the JROTC program, along with Arabic and Turkish language classes, which would complement the cybersecurity program, Ms. Frye explained.
“There is a huge employment opportunity and a growing field in our backyard, and it’s important to be aware of the threats,” she added.
To gauge interest, LHS in 2017 started a successful, weekly cybersecurity club after school.
Last fall, the school offered a cybersecurity pilot class because of high demand. Twenty students took the course in the fall, and another 20 will finish it this spring.
We are “really excited to be able to expand IT opportunities for students,” Ms. Frye said.
The academy should allow students to “come out of high school with at least one, maybe two, industry-level certifications . . . and be able to go into post-secondary education with ease,” Mr. Clark said.
LHS senior Seth Trusky takes the pilot course this spring and plans to pursue an associate’s degree in cybersecurity at the Warrenton campus of Lord Fairfax Community College.
“The mindboggling amount of information out there (online) and sometimes how easy it is to take it opened my eyes to” cybersecurity classes, Seth said.
He hopes to enlist in the Army or get a job with a government contractor as an ethical hacker.
LHS freshman Jessica Thomasson also takes the pilot course this spring and plans to go through the four-year academy at the Bealeton school.
“I’ve learned how to make strong passwords and decipher code,” Jessica said. “People think it’s a guy’s place in the cybersecurity world, and I want to show them that girls can do it, too.”
She eventually wants to work for the CIA or FBI.
The educators at Liberty hope eventually to partner with Warrenton’s LFCC campus to provide mentors and other resources for students, according to Ms. Frye.
“This is a field that doesn’t necessarily have to have a bachelor’s, master’s or associate’s,” Ms. Frye said. “There are job opportunities right out of high school for students.”
Rising LHS freshman and the sophomores in the pilot class must apply to the cybersecurity academy by Monday, April 22.
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AngryBob · April 17, 2019 at 10:56 am
Don't get your hopes up, kids. Most of those hot IT job openings are fake.
Many are there as a way to game the H1B Visa program - with requirements so specific that nobody will qualify, and then they can go hire a foreigner who the opening was custom tailored for, at half the salary of a citizen.
Many are for the same position - where 50 temp agencies all post openings for the same job.
Many are for jobs that don't exist yet - especially government contracts where the company is harvesting resumes to attach to proposals for work they don't have yet, and will probably never get. And this is compounded by the previously mentioned temp agency problem.
So most of these "High Demand IT Jobs" don't actually exist. And when you finally do land a job, nobody hires IT people long term. They hire a group for a project and then fire everybody when its over, so you're looking for work every 6 months to a year. It's brutal.
I'm a programmer because it was my childhood hobby. I will NOT be encouraging my kids to go into IT. Choose plumbing or HVAC or some kind of trade.
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